Tag: National Football League

Noontime’s High School Notebook: Leftover Thoughts From Week One

Will Batten (No. 6) recorded four touchdowns last Friday in North Reading’s season-opener against Northeast Metro Tech. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

It was an exciting first week of the Massachusetts high school football season.

There were some exciting finishes, along with outcomes that raised an eyebrow. Additionally, there were games like the one I witnessed that was a tale of two halves.

Last Friday, I made the trek to North Reading to watch the Hornets score an opening night win over Northeast Metro Tech.  

The game was highlighted by Will Batten’s four touchdowns – two on the ground and two through the air (receptions) – that helped the Hornets secure a 28-0 lead that morphed into a 35-20 victory.

While North Reading’s offense – and yes, its defense – highlighted the opening half, it was the Northeast ground game that shined during the final two frames. Halfbacks Chris Zullo and Lael Jean-Baptiste zipped through various gaps the Knight offensive line paved with a few bursts resulting in touchdowns.

The Knights outscored the Hornets, 20-7, during the final 24 minutes.

North Reading seeks its second win on Friday when they visit the Greater Lawrence Technical School for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Northeast will host Saugus on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. – the Sachems lost to the Knights last season by a score of 28-0.

One outcome that surprised me last week was Xaverian Brothers beating Everett, 49-14.

To be honest, I thought the game would be a bit closer, but the contest was highlighted by a young man whose last name is Hasselbeck.

Henry Hasselbeck, the son of Matt Hasselbeck, who happens to be a Xaverian Brothers alum and played in the National Football League (NFL), shined in his debut with the Blue and Gold by throwing three touchdowns and finishing the non-league matchup with 190 passing yards.

One of Hasselbeck’s touchdowns was highlighted on ESPN this week – it was a five-yard leaping score that saw the junior signal-caller leap over an Everett defender at the five-yard line.

In addition to Hasselbeck, halfback Michael Oates added three rushing touchdowns.

Xaverian hosts Bridgewater-Raynham in its home-opener on Friday – the Trojans dropped their season-opener to Milford by a score of 42-0.

I thought Wilmington would beat Arlington Catholic in its season-opener. But clearly, I was wrong.

Quarterback Isaiah Osgood was the player to watch last Saturday as the senior signal-caller recorded four touchdowns (two on the ground and two through the air) against the Wildcats. The four scores helped the Cougars score an opening day win, as well as gain some much-needed momentum for this week’s matchup with Bishop Fenwick High School.

Noontime’s Games to Watch in Week Two

Tech Boston (1-0) at Georgetown (0-1) Friday, September 16 at 6 p.m.: Halfback Ahmir Carrington rushed for two scores in Tech Boston’s season-opener last week against Boston English/New Mission. He will once again be a factor this week against the Royals. PREDICTION: Tech Boston over Georgetown

Medfield (1-0) at Dedham (0-1) Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m.: Medfield’s defense shined last week against Medway, thanks to Matthew Stevens who finished with 14 total tackles. Let’s see if the Warriors’ defense can carry them to another victory against a Dedham squad that produced two scores last Friday against Westwood. PREDICTION: Medfield over Dedham

Waltham (1-0) at Winchester (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m.: A pair of 1-0 squads will square off in Winchester on Friday evening after both squads scored an opening day win over a squad from Newton (Waltham beat Newton North, 23-20, while Winchester topped Newton South, 13-6). PREDICTION: Waltham over Winchester

Bellingham (1-0) at Westwood (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.: Clearly, I was wrong about my hometown Wolverines last week as Westwood topped Dedham in its home-opener. This week, I’ll be more optimistic about Westwood, but if the Green and White are going to score its second win, they will need to slow down wide receiver Michael Spera. PREDICTION: Westwood over Bellingham    

Wellesley (1-0) at Milford (1-0) Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m.: Both teams looked pretty good in their respective season-opener – perhaps this is an early postseason preview? Maybe, but I think the Scarlet Hawks will be able to make a few more plays to secure its second win of the 2022 season. PREDICTION: Milford over Wellesley    

Josh McDaniels named the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders

Josh McDaniels, who was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator in 2021, was named the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. (PHOTO COURTESY: Boston.com/AP)

By Matt Noonan

The National Football League (NFL) coaching carousel continues to spin with the occasional stop before not one, but two conference title games.

Prior to the start of Sunday’s conference championships, numerous outlets confirmed that Josh McDaniels has been named the new head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Dave Ziegler, a former New England Patriots colleague, will join him as the team’s next general manager.

McDaniels has spent most of his coaching career in New England in multiple roles, including defensive assistant, quarterbacks coach, and most recently as the team’s offensive coordinator. He arrived in New England in 2001 as a personal assistant after his initial coaching stint as a graduate assistant with Michigan State in 1999.

This is not McDaniels’ first head coaching role as he led the Denver Broncos to an 8-8 finish in 2009 before getting fired one year later after guiding the Broncos to a 3-9 start.

McDaniels remerge in 2011 as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before returning to New England in 2012 as both the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. His coaching certainly had an impact on Tom Brady, who guided the Patriots to six Super Bowls, and Mac Jones, the organization’s initial draft choice last April.

The 2021 season was a tumultuous one for the Raiders, headlined by the firing of their former head coach Jon Gruden to the release of two players, including Henry Ruggs III. But somehow, someway, the Silver and Black were able to secure a spot in the postseason where they lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round.

McDaniels becomes the second NCAA Division III football alum to be named a head coach this offseason — Brian Dabol, who played defensive back for the University of Rochester, accepted the head coaching role on Friday with the New York Giants.

Getting To Know Matt Eberflus (Bears) & Brian Dabol (Giants) 

Matt Eberflus was named the head coach of the Chicago Bears on Thursday, January 27, 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY: Associated Press/Toledoblade.com)

By NoontimeSports.com

The National Football League (NFL) coaching carousel continues to spin. But it has also stopped three times in the last two days with a pair of coaches earning head roles with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, respectively.

Shortly after Nathaniel Hackett was named the head coach of the Denver Broncos, Matt Eberflus was tabbed the new leader of the Bears.

One day later, Brian Dabol went from calling offensive plays for the Buffalo Bills to becoming the head coach of the Giants.

Both the Bears and Giants are desperate for a turnaround — we are sure the league office would like to see two of the oldest franchises compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next February. But like we have previously with Nathaniel Hackett, it’s time to get to know not one, but two new head coaches in the NFL.

Who is Matt Eberflus?

A coach with 30 years of experience, including 17 in the collegiate world, but there is more, of course.

Eberflus becomes the 17th head coach of the Bears after spending the last four seasons as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator.

With the Colts, Eberflus helped the Blue and White become the least penalized team in 2019 and 2021 and finish in the top-10 in scoring, run defense, and takeaways the last two seasons (2020 and 2021).

One thing Eberflus did quite well as the leader of the Colts defense was to develop Darius Leonard into one of the best linebackers currently. Leonard, who was named the 2018 Associated Press (AP) Defensive Rookie of the Year, has tallied 121 total tackles or more in four seasons with the Colts while producing a career-best eight forced fumbles this past fall.

Eberflus, who played linebacker at the University of Toledo, coached the position with the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys — he was also the Cowboys’ passing game coordinator in 2016 and 2017. And like Leonard, he made an impact on two former Dallas linebackers: Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.

This will be Eberflus’s first head coaching role – he certainly will have his work cut out for him as the Bears have not produced a winning season since 2018 when they lost in the Wild Card round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brian Dabol will be tasked with leading the New York Giants back to the postseason in 2022. (PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images/New York Post)

Who is Brian Dabol?

For starters, he was the previous offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. And if you know anything about the Bills, then you certainly know they have a pretty good quarterback named Josh Allen. Dabol made both Allen and the Bills’ offense fun to watch these last few seasons, but can he duplicate that same success with Daniel Jones?

We believe he can, but as many believe (and know), he has his work cut out for him.

Dabol, who played defensive back for the University of Rochester, has held a slew of offensive coordinator roles over the past few years, including one with the University of Alabama where he also coached the quarterbacks. He coached three quarterbacks with the New York Jets in 2007 and 2008, including Brett Favre.

Additionally, Dabol gained experience coaching the defense with the New England Patriots in 2000 and 2001 — he was a defensive assistant — after beginning his career on the sidelines as a volunteer assistant with William & Mary in 1997.

Dabol has never been a head coach so it will be interesting to see how he does in his first season with Giants, who have not posted a winning season since 2016.

Noontime’s NFL Conference Championship Predictions

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to the conference championship weekend – are you ready for another exciting weekend of National Football League (NFL) playoff football?  

Last week, we were treated to some exciting football – I can’t say it was the cleanest football, but it was fun.

This week, we should be treated to not one, but two great matchups, so without further ado, allow me to share my predictions for the conference championships.

Enjoy the games and best of luck to everyone in the snow tomorrow!

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, January 30 at 3 p.m.): I picked the Bengals last week to beat the Tennessee Titans. I even predicted they would win their opening-round matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders. But as much as I would like to pick them again this week, I just don’t think their offensive line will be able to contain the Chiefs’ front seven. It would be a great story to see Joe Burrow in his second season leading the Bengals back to the “big game,” but I think Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will make one, two, or three extra plays to secure a spot in next month’s Super Bowl. PREDICTION: Kansas City 31, Cincinnati 26

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m.): It’s hard to pick against the 49ers – they have a great deal of momentum on their side. And while they appear banged-up and tired, especially after two hard-fought postseason contests with the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, I think it would be hard for me to pick against them this weekend. San Francisco has been playing some inspirational football, which started earlier this month when they defeated Los Angeles in their regular-season finale. PREDICTION: San Francisco 27, Los Angeles 23

Getting To Know Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos)

Nathaniel Hackett, who oversaw the Green Bay Packers offense for the last three seasons, has been named the head coach of the Denver Broncos. (PHOTO COURTESY: Green Bay Packers)

By NoontimeSports.com

The Denver Broncos have a new head coach. And his name is Nathaniel Hackett.

According to various reports, Hackett, who was previously the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, will become the new coach of the Broncos — he takes over for Vic Fangio, who guided the Orange and Blue for the last three seasons.

Hackett is the first coordinator or assistant coach to fill one of the National Football League’s (NFL) head coaching vacancies — others will be named over the next few days and weeks — but before he inks his name on a new contract, let’s learn about the new leader of the Broncos.

  • Nathaniel is the son of Paul Hackett, a former professional and collegiate football coach that was born in Burlington, Vermont. Paul held numerous coordinator or assistant roles in the NFL but was a head coach twice for the University of Pittsburgh and University of Southern California.

  • Hackett played football at the University of California, Davis. He earned the George Belenis Award as a co-scout team player of the year in 1998 with Trae Milton before earning the Bob Foster Aggie Pride Award in 2002.  
      
  • His coaching career began in 2003 as the UC Davis assistant linebacker’s coach before earning additional roles with Stanford University and Syracuse University. He spent two years at Stanford – he was a specialist/recruiting coordinator in 2005.

  • In 2006, Hackett made his NFL debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their offensive quality control coach before accepting the same duties in 2008 and 2009 with the Buffalo Bills.

  • Most recently, he was spotted on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars as both their quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator before joining Matt LaFleur in Green Bay to oversee the offense the last three seasons.  

Our “Getting to Know” series, a first-ever in the history of Noontime Sports, will introduce our football fans and friends to new head coaches in the NFL. Be on the lookout for future posts once more teams announce their next coach for the upcoming 2022 season.